Alcoholics Anonymous

Metropolitan areas usually have specialized groups, based on such member characteristics as gender, length Of time in recovery, age, sexual orientation, profession, ethnicity, and language spoken” (CAST, 2008). Vast majorities of drug addiction treatment programs encourage the participation of self-help group therapy during and after formal treatment because the patients benefit from the social reinforcement that comes from peer discussion, while also helping to promote, achieve, and maintain drug-free and healthy lifestyles.
The 12-Step Program is a uniquely, well-rounded phase of treatment that includes maintaining a close relationship with a sponsor who is experienced with self-discipline and long-term abstinence. The meetings also incorporate skills such as helping others, taking responsibility for recovery, sharing personal experiences, and accepting the existence of a higher power. “Research has shown that when group therapy either is offered in conjunction with individualized drug counseling or is formatted to reflect the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management, positive outcomes are achieved” (NADIA, 2012).
The original 12 Step Guide was inspired and created in 1935 by pioneer AAA members. A couple years later, the two founders of AAA published a book based on their experiences, including both the failures and the successes. The book describes the original AAA philosophy and methods, along with establishing the Twelve Steps. Although it has been revised throughout the years, and continues to be updated, the Twelve Steps have remained intact as it carries on its stories of success from one group to the other.

Nearly four decades of scientific research and clinical practice has taught us about many diverse and effective approaches to the treatment of drug addiction, resulting in the creation of overall manuals and guides throughout the years. The etiology of substance use disorders can be explained through a variety of social dynamics. Genetic factors have been studied most frequently with alcohol and tobacco use disorders. “Specific genes have been identified, but the interaction of these genes with the environment is key for understanding genetic contributions” (Kiering, 2014).
More often than not, drugs are used as an escape – an escape from reality – and this temporary escape is used to avoid the negative feelings and bad moods which are known to be related to withdrawal symptoms. In addition, this also helps in explaining the frequency and pattern of relapse. “Many substances are used to alter mood (e. G. , to reduce tension of increase positive affect), and people with certain personality traits, such as those high in negative affect or low in constraint, are especially likely to use drugs” (Kiering, 2014).
Neurological factors, including the brain’s reward pathways, seem to have an influence on the use of some substances in certain individuals. “Nearly all drugs, including alcohol, stimulate the dopamine system in the brain, which produces rewarding or pleasurable feelings. Incentive-assassination theory explains that the dopamine system becomes sensitive to the drug, as well as the cues associated with the drug (needles, rolling papers, etc. ). Sensitivity to these cues induces and strengthens wanting and craving for the drug’ (Kiering, 2014).
Cognitive and psychological variables are also very important to detect, such as the expectations about the effects of drugs. When an individual believes, and expects, to have positive effects from a certain drug (e. G. , drinking alcohol to reduce Stress and anxiety), the likelihood that the individual will abuse the rug is extremely high. Coloratura factors also play a vital role in how frequently a substance is used, with family and friends being the most influential.
A broken family home (e. G. , marital problems, parent/sibling alcohol or drug use, and legal or psychiatric problems) can have a tremendous negative effect on a child and the decisions they make. A lack of emotional support from parents is found to increase drug use, whereas the lack of parental monitoring if often associated with higher drug use (Kiering, 2014). The idea of being “popular” and having a ton of friends seems to be a moon goal for the majority of adolescents and young adults.
Social influence is explained by the fact that having peers who drink, influences drinking behavior: however, it is also known that individuals will choose friends with drinking patterns similar to their own. While growing up, most of us have always been told to choose our friends wisely; however, they neglected to tell us how difficult this can be. The 1 2-Step program addresses the factors or causes that are responsible for, or related to, substance abuse by helping individuals to understand the concept of change. Processes of change are the covert and overt activities hat people engage in to alter affect, thinking, behavior, or relationships related to particular problems or patterns of living” (NADIA, 2012). The 12-Step Program helps by addressing a patient’s motivation and ability to change while building skills to resist drug use, replacing drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding activities, increasing social alternatives and behaviors that elicit old behaviors, as well as, improving problem-solving skills, and incorporating Sponsorship to help build, or rebuild, healthy interpersonal relationships.
It has also been proven that participation in roof therapy, during and following treatment, can help maintain abstinence. A longitudinal study was conducted in 2011 among a U. S. National sample of people who were living in communal-living recovery/transition homes (Oxford Houses) and were also actively involved with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. “Categorical involvement in a set of 1 2-step activities and averaged summary scores of involvement were examined in relation to abstinence and self-efficacy for abstinence.
Participants who were categorically involved in all 1 2-step activities reported significantly higher evils of abstinence and self-efficacy for abstinence at 1 year compared with those who were less involved” (Major, 2011). The results suggest that the 12- step program provides individuals with substance use disorders the resources they need for ongoing recovery. In 201 3, a longitudinal study, similar to the previous one, was conducted among a U. S. Sample of patients who were in the process of leaving treatment for substance use dependencies. Categorical involvement in a set of 1 2-step activities and summary scores of involvement from the Alcoholics Anonymous Affiliation Scale were examined in relation to continuous abstinence and aftercare (Oxford House or usual care) condition” (Major, 2013). The people who were actively involved and participated in the 12-step activities were significantly more likely to maintain and continue drug-free lifestyles after 2 years, versus those who were less involved.
Through these two studies, it is suggested that involvement in the 1 2-step program and living in settings, such as the Oxford Houses, are two important factors that are related to continuous abstinence (from both alcohol and illicit drugs) among people with substance use dependencies. Most recently, a study was done on stimulant drug abusers to evaluate the effectiveness of an 8-week combined group, which included individual 1 2-step facilitative intervention and 12-step meeting attendance and service.
The study consisted of a “MultiMate randomized controlled trial, with assessments at baseline, mid-treatment, end of treatment, and 3- and 6-month post- randomization follow-ups (Fiji)” (Donovan, 2014). It took place in several intensive outpatient substance treatment programs and it measured self- reports of substance use, 12-step attendance and activities, as well as a Urinalysis. The results were compared with treatment as usual (TAXI), sousing on the impact of incorporating the 1 2-step program into intensive outpatient drug treatment programs.
Although it did associate with more days of use among those who were not achieving abstinence during this period, “STAGE-12 participants had lower Addiction Severity Index Drug Composite scores at and a significant reduction from baseline to the 3-month IF, attended 12-step meetings on a greater number of days during the early phase of active treatment, engaged in more other types of 12-step activities throughout the active treatment phase and the entire IF period, and had ore days of self-reported service at meetings from mid-treatment through the 6-month IF” (Donovan, 2014).
More importantly, the study results indicate that individuals in a 12-step program had higher rates of meeting attendance and were involved in more related activities throughout the active treatment phase and the entire 6-month follow-up period. Being a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, myself, I absolutely recommend the 12-step program to anyone who is looking for help with their addictions. In 2012, was sentenced to do court-ordered drug counseling and it changed my life for the better.
The 12-step program was originally signed for alcoholics, but throughout the years it has been known to help any type of drug addict. I was apprehensive about this at first, but I finally understood after my counselor explained that you just replace the word “alcohol” with your drug of choice. This is why you can now find individualized programs like Narcotics Anonymous, which cater to and revolve around the 12-steps. “Another benefit of mutual support group participation is that ‘helping helps the helper. Helping others by sharing experiences and providing support increases involvement in 12-Step groups, which in turn increases abstinence” (CAST, 2008). An agree, and have seen for myself, that helping truly does help the helper. Future research that has been recommended is “systematic encouragement and community access, which utilizes 12-step members as volunteers in a ‘buddy system’ that provides a bridge between formal treatment and community 12-step programs” (Donovan, 2013).
Instead of just providing a list of meetings and encouraging attendance, which is the typical referral method, counselors should also introduce the individual to a current member of a 1 2-step program using an in-session telephone meeting in order to arrange attending meeting with him or her. Further studies on this idea will help to determine if there IS a significant difference in rates of attendance when being provided a guide between formal treatment and community 12-step programs, as opposed to just relying on will-power.
These future studies could also help the effort to decrease the rates of recidivism in drug addicts by providing an extra step into the reintegration of inmates back into society. Overall, research over the past four decades has proven that active participation in any type of mutual support group, specifically the 12-step aerogram, has significantly increased the likelihood of maintaining a continuous, healthy, alcohol and drug-free lifestyle. In addition, “an important finding is that these abstinence rates increase with greater group participation” (CAST, 2008).

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